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Roux




Roux (IPA: /ˈruː/) (pronounced somewhat like the English word "rue") is a mixture of wheat flour and fat. It is the basis of three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: Sauce béchamel, Sauce velouté, and Sauce Espagnole. Butter, vegetable oils, or lard are common fats used. It is used as a base for gravy, other sauces, soufflés, soups and stews.

Additional recommended knowledge

Contents

Methods

The fat is heated in a pot or pan melting it if necessary, then the flour is added. The mixture is stirred until the flour is incorporated and then cooked until at least the point where a raw flour taste is no longer apparent or until desired color has been reached. The final results can range from the nearly white to the nearly black, depending on the length of time it is over the heat, and its intended use. The end result is a thickening and flavoring agent.

Roux is most often made with butter as the fat base but it may be made with any edible fat. In the case of meat gravies, they are often made with rendered fat from the meat. In regional American cuisine, bacon is sometimes fried to produce fat to use in the roux. Vegetable oil is often used when producing dark roux as it does not burn at high temperatures like butter will.

When combining roux with water-based liquids, such as broth or milk, it is important that these liquids are not excessively hot. It is preferable to add room temperature or warm liquid into a moderately hot or warm roux. They should be added in small quantities to the roux while stirring, to ensure proper mixing. Otherwise, the mixture will be very lumpy, not homogeneous, and not properly thickened.

Cooks can cheat by adding a mixture of water and wheat flour to a dish which needs thickening since the heat of boiling water will release the starch from the flour, however this temperature is not high enough to eliminate the floury taste. A mixture of water and flour used in this way is colloquially known as cowboy roux since it imparts a flavor to the finished dish which a traditional haute cuisine chef would consider unacceptable.

Types

Light (or "white") roux provides little flavor other than a characteristic richness to a dish, and is used in French cooking and some gravies or pastries throughout the world. For example, classic Swabian (southwest German) cooking uses a darker roux for its "brown broth" (braune Brühe), which, in its simplest form, consists of nothing more than lard, flour, and water, with a bay leaf and salt for seasoning. Darker roux, sometimes referred to as "blond", "peanut-butter", or "chocolate" roux depending on the color achieved, add a distinct nutty flavor to a dish, are often made with vegetable oils, as oil has a higher burning point than butter, and are used in Cajun and Creole cuisine for gumbos and stews. The darker the roux, the less thickening power it has; a chocolate roux has about one-fourth the thickening power, by weight, of a white roux. A very dark roux, just shy of burning and turning black, has a distinctly reddish color and is sometimes referred to as "brick" roux.

Alternatives

As an alternative to making a roux, which is high in fat and very energy-dense, to flavor gumbo, some Creole chefs have been experimenting with toasting flour without oil in a hot pan. Cornstarch mixed with water (slurry), arrowroot and other agents can be used in place of roux as well, these items do not contribute to the flavor of a dish and are just used for thickening liquids.

See also

Wikibooks Cookbook has an article on
Roux
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Roux". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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